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Week 17 NFC Playoff Picture

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Week 17 NFC Playoff Picture
Mon Dec 28, 2020 8:22 pm
  • Hello Everyone,

    Long time and no see. I hadn't done a full playoff picture until now because of Covid and other considerations, but there has been enough confusion (including some of my own), that I decided to give the full Week 17 NFC Playoff Picture headed into the last week of the season. I will also include a link to the corresponding AFC Playoff Picture in the NFL Forums here.

    As always I will start with the NFC East and move west finishing with the NFC West (and Seattle). Also the following will be used as a key: z-Home Field (and first round bye), y-division winner, x-playoff berth, and e-eliminated. I will sometimes follow this by a number indicated a minimum or locked seed.

    NFC East:
    This division will be won by a losing team, and I would make a crack or two about it save for the fact that for the past month or so, the NFC East has actually played fairly solid football. Still there is a chance that the division winner will have six wins.

    Team Record Conference Record Division Record Next Opponent
    Washington 6-9 4-7 3-2 Philadelphia
    Dallas 6-9 5-6 2-3 NY Giants
    NY Giants 5-10 4-7 3-2 Dallas
    Philadelphia-e 4-10-1 4-7 2-3 Washington

    Playoff and elimination scenarios: All teams in this division are eliminated from any wild card consideration, and Philly has been eliminated altogether.

    Washington: Clinches the NFC East With: 1) A Win, 2) TIE plus a Dallas/Giants Tie. Any other result eliminates Washington.

    Dallas: Clinches the NFC East with: 1) Win + Washington loss or tie 2) Tie + Washington Loss

    NY Giants: Clinches the NFC East with: Win + Washington loss

    Reason: Washington has the head to head tiebreak against Dallas (having beaten them twice) and likewise the NY Giants have the head to head tiebreak against Washington.

    NFC South:
    This is far and away the easier division to explain. New Orleans has won it, and Tampa is locked into a playoff spot likely as the fifth seed.

    Team Record Conference Record Division Record Next Opponent
    N.O. Saints-y3 11-4 9-2 5-0 Carolina
    Tampa Bay-x6 10-5 7-4 3-2 Atlanta
    Carolina-e 5-10 4-7 1-4 N.O. Saints
    Atlanta-e 4-11 2-9 1-4 Tampa Bay

    Playoff and Elimination Scenarios:

    New Orleans Saints: Clinches the Number one seed with: Green Bay loss AND Seattle win. Both have to happen to force a three way tie that New Orleans wins by virtue of Conference record.

    New Orleans Saints: Clinches the Number two seed with: 1) Win, 2) Tie + Seattle Tie or loss.

    Tampa Bay: Clinches the Number Five Seed with 1) Win or tie OR 2) Rams loss or tie

    Reason: New Orleans lost to Green Bay in week 3 or so, so they lose any head to head with Green Bay, but their superior conference record beats a Seattle team in either a head to head OR three say tie. So for New Orleans to get the number one seed, they have to root for both a Green bay loss and Seattle win. Likewise Tampa Bay lost to the LA Rams earlier this season but has a one game lead on them for the highest wildcard. That is why Tampa hasn't clinched the number five seed yet but can with a win or tie.

    NFC North:
    This division is the most intertangled with the NFC West and is the division of most interest to us outside our own.

    Team Record Conference Record Division Record Next Opponent
    Green Bay-y3 12-3 9-2 4-1 Chicago
    Chicago 8-7 6-5 2-3 Green Bay
    Minnesota-e 6-9 4-7 3-2 Detroit
    Detroit-e 5-10 4-7 1-4 Minnesota

    Playoff and Elimination Scenarios:

    Green Bay: Clinches the Number One seed with: 1) Win or Tie OR 2) Seattle loss or Tie

    Green Bay Clinches the Number Two seed with: Loss + Seattle Win + New Orleans loss or tie

    Green Bay Settles for the Number three seed with: Loss + Seattle win + New Orleans win

    Chicago: Chinches the #6 seed with: A Win + Arizona Win (this results in a three way log jam at 9-7 that the bears win)

    Chicago: Clinches the #7 playoff spot with: 1) Win OR 2) Arizona loss OR 3) Tie + Rams/Arizona Tie

    Reason: I already explained most of Green Bay's scenarios when I explained the Saint's scenarios. Basically because Green Bay beat New Orleans head to head they normally would have secured the tie break except that Seattle has a better record in common games and is only a game behind and thus acts a bit like a skunk in the Green Bay garden party. Basically Seattle has to be unable to tie Green Bay in record for Green Bay to secure the number one seed.
    As for Chicago, Chicago is one of three teams (Arizona and the LA Rams being the other two) that are chasing for the last two playoff spots. Chicago lost to the LA Rams in the regular season and so loses that head to head, but Chicago has a better record with common opponents with Arizona which gives them the advantage head to head. So basically if it comes down to Chicago vs Arizona for the last spot, Chicago gets it. In the event of a three way tie at 9-7, the Cardinals eliminate the Rams because they are in the same division and Arizona would have a better division record. Then the Bears edge the Cardinals by common opponents.

    Finally the division you've been waiting for.....

    NFC West
    Team Record Conference Record Division Record Next Opponent
    Seattle-y3 11-4 8-3 3-2 San Fran
    LA Rams 9-6 8-3 2-3 Arizona
    Arizona 8-7 6-5 2-3 LA Rams
    San Fran-e 6-9 4-7 3-2 Seattle

    Playoff Clinching and Elimination Scenarios:

    Seattle: Clinches the #1 Seed with: A Win + Green Bay Loss + New Orleans loss or tie

    Seattle: Clinches the #2 Seed with: A Win + New Orleans loss or tie (or a tie + New Orleans loss)

    LA Rams: Clinches #5 Seed with: A Win + Tampa Bay loss

    LA Rams: Clinches #6 Seed with: Win or Tie

    LA Rams: Clinches the #7 seed with: Chicago loss or tie

    LA Rams: Eliminated with: A Loss and Chicago Win

    Arizona: Clinches the #6 seed with: A Win + Chicago loss or tie

    Arizona: Clinches the #7 seed with: 1) A Win or 2) Tie + Chicago loss

    Arizona: Eliminated if neither above scenario happens.

    Reasons: I covered Seattle's situation when I discussed Green Bay and New Orleans. Basically Seattle can still get the top spot but only if Green Bay loses AND New Orleans loses or ties. That is because Seattle beats Green Bay by virtue of common opponents. If Seattle wins and Green Bay loses, then Seattle is assured of no worse than the #2 seed. Otherwise Seattle is pretty well locked into the #3 seed.
    The LA Rams have frittered away almost lay up opportunities to clinch a playoff spot for two straight weeks. As things stand now, the Rams can still get the #5 seed if they win and Tampa loses, and are almost certainly going to be the #6 seed. The flaw with the Rams is that if they lose to Arizona, Arizona would beat the Rams on division record and that is decided before any three way tiebreaker is decided with a team outside the division (Chicago). That means that if the Rams lose to Arizona, they are in dire danger of missing the playoffs altogether (and have to root for a Chicago loss).
    Arizona is on playoff life support following their loss to San Francisco. If Arizona wins, they are in. They can even beat the LA Rams based on Division record in a head to head which is how the Rams could get eliminated. That means that Arizona could conceivably get as high as the #6 seed if they win and Chicago loses or ties. More likely they would get the #7 seed with a win.

    *whew* I hope this clears things up.
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Re: Week 17 NFC Playoff Picture
Fri Jan 01, 2021 9:07 am
  • Thank you Polaris. Much appreciated.
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